Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government’s involvement in the sugar industry is to ensure effective management in the short term.
According to Mr. Holness, the intervention at the Clarendon-based Monymusk Sugar Factory has informed him that once effective management of the industry’s culture, money and technology is in place, sugar can survive.
The Prime Minister, who was delivering the main address at the official reopening of the factory on March 31, described the move to temporarily run the entity as “strategic”, even as he invited the private sector to look at an “economic opportunity” that is in sugar.
“There is an economic opportunity here… and (an opportunity) to help with the management and production of the cane itself,” the Prime Minister said.
He called for dialogue with stakeholders to end cultural practices such as the burning of cane, which caused losses of more than 40 tonnes of cane in areas around Monymusk, recently.
Mr. Holness said that kind of activity is as devastating to the industry as a fall in the price of sugar.
Last July, the Government, through the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings, entered into an interim agreement to operate the Monymusk factory to save thousands of jobs in St. Catherine and Clarendon after its owners, Pan Caribbean Sugar Company, indicated that they were not able to keep it open.
“In the next phase of our management intervention, we will continue, as best as possible, to support the capital development, but the long term is not for the Government to operate this plant,” he said.
Mr. Holness, who toured the factory with managers and workers, said it is “clear” to him that the skill sets exist at the facility to ensure the viability of the enterprise, and the Government will do its part to make sure that it is successful.
The ceremony was also addressed by the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda.
He thanked investors and workers in the sector who play their part to keep the industry going.
Article by: Garfield Angus
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm